ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan People’s Party yesterday said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his ‘team’ would themselves be responsible for any coup or revolution in the country.

Former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said the government had damaged the democracy by allegedly poor performance and mishandling of the national issues which could result in ‘anything.’

“We will decide then what to do but the responsibility for any such eventuality (coup) would be on the PM and his government,” he told a news conference here. He was flanked by Faisal Karim Kundi and Nazir Dhoki.

Last day, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan said if the armed forces took over, people would distribute sweets and celebrate, unlike Turkey where the people foiled such bid.

“The Turks backed their civilian government because it served them and did not loot them. Had the army taken over in Pakistan, there would have been a different scenario. People would have distributed sweets and celebrated,” he said at an election rally in Azad Jammu Kashmir.

The debate started after the posters begging the army chief to launch a coup appeared in major cities including Islamabad. The posters were placed by “Move on Pakistan,” a little known political party founded in 2013.

“Talk of leaving has become old, for God’s sake come now,” read the posters – featuring the army chief Raheel Sharif’s photograph. General Sharif earlier this year had declared he would not even seek an extension and step down at the end of his tenure in November. Chief organiser behind ‘Move on Pakistan’ Ali Hashmi said dictatorship was much better than ‘this corrupt’ government.

Raja Pervez Ashraf said the government - not the PTI or any other party - was inviting a coup as the rulers had weakened the democracy. “If the PM does not stop thinking more about his personal friendship with Indian PM (Narendra) Modi, nothing can be ruled out. Anything can happen. But let me make it clear, the government will have itself to blame for any such turmoil,” he added.

He remarked that at a time when Kashmiris were being butchered, Prime Minister Sharif was planning to save his relations with Modi. “The PM is not even ready to give a statement which could represent the masses and exhibit support for the Kashmiris who look towards Pakistan,” Ashraf added. The former premier claimed it was the first time that a Pakistani government had failed to live up to expectation of Kashmiris.

He said the country needed a full-time Foreign Minister who could represent the country at the international level. “During our government (2008-2013), we had good ties with Afghanistan, Iran and other countries. This government has spoiled all the good work done by the PPP,” he maintained. He said Panama leaks was a divine punishment for the rulers as they were imposing themselves as Kings rather than servants of the nation. “The government is not ready to investigate the Panama leaks scandal. If a fair investigation is conducted, they will be exposed. They will lose the right to rule,” he contended. Ashraf said the PPP will return to power in AJK. “I am not predicting anything but hopefully we will return to power and form the government in AJK,” he remarked. The PPP leader alleged the government was misusing the state funds to ensure win in the Azad Jammu Kashmir polls. “The ministers are addressing the rallies and these events are being broadcast live on the Pakistan television. This is a worst example of misusing authority and playing with the public money,” he contended.

He said the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) will only win the AJK polls if they were massively rigged. “There has been pre-polls rigging and the PML-N will need rigging during balloting also to ensure victory,” he claimed. Ashraf said the government-backed target killers murdered the PPP activists in the AJK election campaign and “the people will not vote for the killers.” “We know how the results of 2013 polls were changed in favour of the PML-N. They are trying the same tactics in AJK. They are trying to implicate the PPP leaders in fake cases to defame us,” he added. He said the federal ministers should be issued notices for violating the election rules in AJK.

“If the notices could be issued to the AJK Prime Minister and ministers, the federal ministers should not be above the law. The rules should be equal for all,” he insisted.